The Alaqua Animal Refuge terminated their agreement with Walton County to run the park.
SANTA ROSA BEACH — The Alaqua Unleashed Dog Park will soon be closed.
Alaqua Animal Refuge founder Laurie Hood posted an announcement Monday regarding the closure on the Alaqua Unleashed Facebook page.
The refuge made an agreement with Walton County to assume management and all financial costs of the park 10 years ago.
"In October 2019, we notified Walton County that we wished to terminate our agreement and exercised our six-month notice," the post said. "Alaqua Animal Refuge and its board of directors appreciate everyone who supported the park over the the past decade. It was our pleasure to serve our community and its canine friends."
PHOTOS: Dog agility training at Alaqua Unleashed Dog Park
According to the post, years of wear and tear took its toll on the park causing the park to need improvements, while complaints of unruly dogs also caused safety concerns.
In order to better the facility, Alaqua came up with an improvement plan, which included having a paid staff member monitor the park. Alaqua approached Walton County and the TDC to propose a partnership to share in the expenses, the post said.
"The land is county-owned and our comprehensive plan showed that statistics greatly supported visitors traveling with their dogs and the trends of the importance of dog parks to these visitors," the post said. "Unfortunately, no funding is available to us for this plan and in the midst of a capital campaign to build our facility on 100 acres in Freeport, it is not an option for Alaqua to assume the entire cost on land that does not belong to us or continue the responsibility for the park without the needed improvements."
A call to Hood for further comment was not returned.
According to Walton County Public Information Manager, Louis Svehla, a decision on whether or not to keep the park open has not been made.
"The county has received the request from Alaqua to terminate their current agreement with the County regarding the Alaqua Unleashed Dog Park." Svehla said in an emailed statement. "At this time, the County is reviewing all options available regarding the park. Any decisions on the future of the property will be made at a later date."